Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished eighth in the Geico 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. In the 10 races run this season, Harvick has finished among the top-10 nine times. This was his 13th top-10 in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at Talladega.
Every time Harvick scores a top-10 in a Sprint Cup race, Outback Steakhouse offers guests the chance to receive a free Bloomin’ Onion the Monday following the race. Harvick has been generous with Outback Steakhouse Bloomin’ Onions since joining SHR at the beginning of the 2014 Sprint Cup season. He has scored 29 top-10 finishes in 46 Sprint Cup points-paying races since joining the team, including all three of his Sprint Cup starts at Talladega. Only Joey Logano with 30 top-10 finishes has scored more top-10s since the start of last season.
The reigning Sprint Cup Series champion started 24th and showed speed in the early going but unfortunately was collected in a 15-car wreck on lap 48. The wreck started just in front of the No. 4 Chevrolet, and Harvick looked to have cleared the carnage until Greg Biffle’s No. 16 came back across the racetrack, making contact with the front-right fender of the Outback Chevrolet.
Harvick brought the No. 4 to pit road multiple times for the team to assess the damage and make repairs to the front fender. Upon review the team noticed that almost all of the damage to the No. 4 car was cosmetic, and they made the necessary repairs to return Harvick to the racetrack with a competitive car.
The Sprint Cup Series points leader restarted in 30th position on lap 52, and then the No. 4 Chevrolet found new life. The car immediately took off for the front of the field, and by lap 67 Harvick had raced his way back into the top-five, where he stayed for the majority of the race.
The final caution of the day came on lap 159 while Harvick was racing in the third position. He brought the No. 4 Chevrolet to pit road for two tires and fuel, returning to the racetrack in the fourth position. On the lap-162 restart, Harvick stayed in the top lane as the field became single file. He raced in the fifth position until the final lap, when he followed Denny Hamlin to the bottom and tried to win the race. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t play out in Harvick’s favor, and he crossed the finish line in eighth place.
“They did a good job fixing the Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet, and it really didn’t slow the car down any,” Harvick said, who won the Sprint Cup race at Talladega in April 2010. “We had to make some handling adjustments, but all in all I wanted to make something happen there at the end, and it just didn’t work out.”
Harvick was credited with leading lap 20 to bring his laps-led total at Talladega to 174. Harvick has now led 953 total laps through the first 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup races of 2015. He has only led more laps than that in a single season once – his championship season one year ago with 2,137 laps led.Harvick’s eighth-place finish led the four-car SHR contingent Sunday at Talladega.